How to Honor a Less Than Perfect Dad

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We’ve just celebrated Father’s Day, that time of year when we honor our dads and show them how much we appreciate them. As Followers of Christ, it’s also a time when we reflect on the love and goodness of our Heavenly Father.

A few years ago, I asked The Father to help me to understand how much he loves me. Since then I’ve been overwhelmed by His love many times over. I know that when He says His love endures forever, he means forever and there is nothing I could ever do to change that.

But in understanding more and more who my Heavenly Father is, I’m made painfully aware of who my earthly father is not.

Our earthly fathers are meant to be the representatives of our Heavenly Father on this earth. They are meant to show us the Father’s love in a way that helps us to understand Him.

Since becoming a follower of Christ, I’ve seen lots of Christian father model this, trying to love and support their children in the same way that our Heavenly Father does. I’ve seen Non-Christian fathers too who are making a concentrated effort to be active in the lives of their children. They attend PTA meetings and are present at extracurricular activities.

Some of you today are celebrating wonderful fathers. As daughters, they set your standards of what to look for in a man, they were there for your important moments, and taught you invaluable life lessons that you still practice to this day.

There are some of us though, who for whatever reason, don’t have much of these memories. Some of our parents just weren’t there for us, physically, spiritually or emotionally. Some of us may even have had to cut ties with a parent for our own self-preservation.

My own dad is from the old school era of men, who believed that their primary responsibility to their family, was to provide and I’m sure he loved us the best way he knew how. He was a great provider and rule setter but he wasn’t as involved in my teenage and young adult years as I would have liked, those years when I needed guidance most.

I realize that on the parenting issue scale, my problems are about a 3 because there are people out there that may have had to endure abuse in one form or another from one or both parents and I’d never want to trivialize that.

Still I wish that my dad had been more involved in the things that I was interested in growing up and that we’d had one on one talks where he dished out words of wisdom. I wish we had made more of the those kinds of memories.

Having said all that, I am still determined to honor my dad as commanded in Exodus 20:12, a commandment that comes with the promise of long life.

Here are a few things that you can do as well to honor a less than perfect dad. 

UNDERSTAND WHERE HE IS COMING FROM

Your dad probably loved you in the best way he knew how. He may not have had a good example to show him what it really means to be a father. I realize that this might have been the case with my own dad. Both of my grandfathers died before I was born, so I can’t say what his dad was like, but I’m not sure that there was someone in his life to teach him that he was meant to imitate Father God in his role as father so that his children would have an earthly example of who He really is.

PRAY FOR HIM

Ask your Heavenly Father to help you to see your earthly father through His eyes. God chose him to be YOUR father, He didn’t choose someone else. I believe that when God choose which child a couple will get it’s because He’s place something in that couple that is meant to help that child become who they were meant to be. He’s your dad for a reason, When you look at your earthly father, try to see him as God created him to be, a good father.

FORGIVE HIM

Ask God to help you to forgive your father for any wrongs he may have done to you, it’s more for you than him. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Unforgiveness is like poison to your soul. The Bible tells us that we will be forgiven in the same measure that we forgive (Matt 6:12)

REMEMBER THE GOOD THINGS AND GIVE THANKS

Try to find things about your father to give God thanks for, cherish the good things. In my younger years, I remember that we went on picnics almost every bank holiday (and that the drive back home as always a bit faster because maybe he had one too much … not sure if that something I should give thanks for though, haha).

I also can’t remember a time where he didn’t have a car. I’ve never had to take the bus to school and he practically drove me everywhere I needed to go until I was in my early 20s (then he drove my kids around instead :))

FIND A SPECIAL THING

One of the things that I really love about my dad is that he chose my name, Deborah. Around the time that I turned 40, I started trying to find my real purpose on this earth and was reading a book called The Deborah Anointing. I realized that I so much in common with this biblical Deborah and I wondered what made my dad choose this name for me.

When I asked him, he said he didn’t know why he chose it lol, but the way I see it is that my Heavenly Father and my earthly father came together at that moment to choose a name for me that would indicate my destiny, even if my earthly father didn’t realise it at the time.

REMEMBER YOU WOULDN’T BE HERE WITHOUT HIM

This one should be obvious but I think we sometimes forget. Without your dad, there would be no you. If you can’t find a way to honor him using one of the other tips

I challenge you to use at least one of these tips to honor your less than perfect father this week, because the truth is all fathers are less than perfect, yes… even the ones who appear to have it all together.

Our Father in heaven is the only perfect father so even if you’re not at the point yet where you feel you can honor your earthly father, know that God is enough.

2 comments

Good job, I myself had to figure out how to honor my father although is was not the father I believe I deserved. But I remember the word, honor your father and mother that my days will be long in the land….. and I also remembered the fact that I didn’t choose to be in the family God placed me in my family and all that I have experienced will work out for my good. I must confess that i lived to see that my experience with my dad has made me strong in knowing who I am and standing for what I believe even if it means that I am alone, that is o.k.

Thanks so much for sharing Alicia. You encouraged me as well when you reminded me that it is God that places us in our families. He always knows what he’s doing 🙂

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